Step 1: In the Beginning.
I was needing a way to preserve my ammunition for long term storage. Given the fact that my basement is almost always damp and very humid in the summer months it posed a real challenge to keeping the ammo fresh. After gleening over the Mrs. pantry one day and seeing rows upon rows of canning jars the Foodsaver idea popped into my head. I have been using this method of storage for over 5 years with great results. After my last reloading session I decided to do an Instrucable on it.
Let's take a look at the pros and cons of using canning jars before I get berated for using glass containers.
- Impervious to moisture and humidity
- Effective oxygen barrier
- Contents can be easily seen
- Can be stored in harsh climates including underground
- Canning jars WILL ALWAYS be needed for food preservation
- Hard to transport
- Harder to stack
Once filled, the benefit of using glass outweights the negatives as a storage container, especially if the jars are going to be used in a supply cache.
Step 2: Testing the Foodsaver Vacuum
Here is a little demonstration showing the Foodsaver vacuum in action.
Both jars have almost an equal amount of marshmallows. Once the Foodsaver is turned on and a vacuum is created, the atmospheric pressure is reduced inside the jars. This vacuum allows the marshmallows to expand.
Step 3: Foodsaver Vacuum Results
The test shows that our Foodsaver is working as intended, with the pressure lifted the marshmallows almost double in size.
We will be using this same concept to purge the jars of moisture and oxygen, the two ingredients needed for rust and corrosion to take place.
As we get further into this Instructable you will notice that my storage techniques have a redundancy factor built in (overkill). This is done to assure the quality of the contents even if one method of corrosion protection fails.
Step 4: VCI Rust Inhibitor Bags
Our first step is to line the jar with a VCI bag.
I found this information for VCI bags on the internet:
VCI is an abbreviation for Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor or Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor. (Also known as VpCIs or Vapor Phase Corrosion Inhibitors.) These corrosion inhibiting compounds are coated on paper or polyethylene bags, and have sufficient vapor pressure to release molecules into the air. Due to their polarity, the VCI molecules are attracted to the surface of metal, just like a magnet. VCI molecules move from the paper or film directly to the surface of metals. When these compounds come in contact with metal surfaces they form a very thin molecular layer. This thin layer effectively inhibits corrosion on the metal surface by preventing air and moisture from coming in contact with the surface of the metal.
This is a much better definition than I could ever give!!
Step 5: Use Hand Warmers As Oxygen Depletors
The hand warmers work through a simple chemical reaction which causes rusting inside the packet once it's exposed to air. The warmer contains water, cellulose, iron, vermiculite, activated carbon and salt. When exposed to air, these things cause the iron to rust at a slow rate, and produce heat.
This rusting process needs oxygen to work. By placing a handwarmer inside the jar and then vacuum sealing it, the warmer will consume what it can until the process starves itself. It is no different than putting a glass jar over a lit candle, once the oxygen is gone the flame will die.
There is little to no difference between hand warmers and the oxygen depletors used in mylar bags for food storage. Some say the oxygen absorbers are rated as food grade and the hand warmers are not. I don't really know if that is true but it is something folks should be aware of.
Step 6: Foodsaver Jar Attachment
If you have a hard time getting a good vacuum seal try lightly moistening the canning ring, it will help in getting a good seal on the jar.
The Foodsaver has two different attachments for the canning jars, wide mouth and standard.
Step 7: Sealing the Ring
Once sealed take a tube of silicone or in this case outdoor caulk and run a bead around the edge of the canning lid up under the lip. This is extra insurance to keep the jar from losing its vacuum, then screw on the canning ring.
1 quart canning jar = 250 rounds of 9mm
I label all of my reloaded ammo with component data. Do not assume that my reload info will work with your gun! Working up your own load safely and within the specs of competent reloading books is the only responsible way to do it.
Step 8: Storing Shotgun Shells
Here we are canning some 12 guage ammunition, it is very bulky for this type of storage but can be done. One trick is to fill the empty space with .22LR because lets face it, you can never have enough 22 rimfire.
Step 9: Thank You for Viewing Our Instructable.
At this point the ammo will store for years in a basement this way.
If these jars were going into a 5 gallon bucket and then buried I would opt for a rust preventative measure for the lid and rings.
One way to do this would be setting up a double boiler and melting a couple blocks of paraffin wax. Once melted, dip the canning jars (lid first) into the wax until the rings are completely covered. Allow the wax to harden then pack away.
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